Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Talk: Traditional Tragedies

Summer 07'

I have all the typical youngest child personality traits: People person serious need to be the center of attention, Outgoing can't stay in the house long enough to clean, Easygoing doesn't notice when household issues are in complete disarray, Passionate cooking is clearly not as important as writing a Tuesday Talk, Strait forward always says exactly what's on my mind, Practical you can pick up your own clothes, your arms aren't painted on and Loving I'd rather cuddle than watch the movie -- See? Wouldn't it be a joy to live with me? {don't answer that}

Mr. Realife, on the other hand, is the 2nd oldest of 6 boys... We are not even going to go there :-) Let's just say he is almost my polar opposite and, as the song says, These Opposites Attract -- If you take another good look at my qualities above, you'll quickly realize I'm not "50's Wife" material -- I'm "2009 Wife" material and it's taken me a while to be OK with that... Funny, Mr. Realife's been fine with it since day 1.

The traditions within marriage seem to be very clear... laid out for us like a book -- Societal norms are hard to ignore -- They strongly influence how we see ourselves and our "roles" within the marital relationship -- We also have our parents who showed us for 18+ years how to be a wife or husband and we live with mental pictures of how a marriage should look, feel and be -- When our pictures don't line up with what it actually is, our marriage, instead of just allowing it to be what it is, turns into a constant struggle of becoming what we think it should be... thus, the tragedy --

Growing up, we had dinner 7 nights a week between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. -- Dad worked hard all day, so he rested while Mom or my older sister, Sarah, cooked... My job? Setting the table which turned out very well for me if I was ever mad at one of my 4 older siblings b/c I licked their forks :) My 4 siblings and I cleaned the house, but mom was also in charge of making sure we did our chores -- Who did we ask if we wanted something? Mom. Who took care of the lawn? Dad. Who did we run to if we were hurt? Mom. Who was our provider? Dad. Who helped us with homework? Mom. Who was the steady constant, never wavering in act or deed? Dad. Who did all the communicating outside the home? Mom. Who ruled the nest? Dad and Mom.

Their roles were very defined -- Our traditions were very set in stone and to watch any other family do it differently was strange -- So what was my picture? That Mr. Realife would want dinner on the table 7 nights a week between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. -- That I would do all household chores -- That he would do all outside chores -- That being married meant it's time to have children -- That Mr. Realife's opinions had more weight than mine -- That my job was to only be a helper instead of the breadwinner -- That Mr. Realife's job was to provide -- and we go on and on and on...

What I want to point out within my family's way of living said above is it worked for us like a well oiled machine -- When you get married, you have to figure out what works for you, bucking the mental picture in your mind's eye, believing it's the only way --

What works for Mr. Realife and I? We don't eat more than 3 meals a week and he is usually the one to fix it -- That down the road I will be the breadwinner and he will take care of the house, etc... -- That it's important stay affectionate with one another even though our parents didn't show outward affection -- That we take off and are spontaneous to keep things alive in our marriage -- That we won't be having children just because we're married -- That I can take the garbage out and it doesn't mean Mr. Realife's a slacker -- That he can clean toilets and the shower and it doesn't mean I'm failing as a wife --

Within a marriage, traditions range from who takes out the garbage, to deciding if you go to bed at the same time, to how much time you spend with other people during the week/weekends without your spouse, to how much sex you have -- The key?

IS IT WORKING FOR YOU!?!?!

If it's not working for you then why in hell are you still forcing the issue?! You are potentially destroying your sanity, not to mention your marriage, if you are trying to force traditions on you, your spouse or your family that may have worked for you parents or the couple next door, but not for you!!!

The beauty in figuring it all out is you grow closer together as a couple, you have 'inside' things that are for your marriage only, you will experience a freedom unlike anything you've known b/c there are NO RULES! only what works for you -- So take a look at the traditions that may need to be thrown out the window so you can establish some peace in your marriage :)

24 comments:

Lindsey said...

Fabulous post!!!

Shannon said...

That's the most true-est (I know, not a word) post I've ever read! You're dead on!

That's something that I have had to take into consideration with my own marriage - I've had these "ideas/rules" of what marriage should be and what our roles are as husband and wife...and I've had to re-write those rules to make them work for my marriage.

I'm just hoping that hubs realizes this point- maybe he should read this post as well...

redheadedjournal said...

Great post!

Sara said...

Very well said, I feel weird when I actually admit we're still figuring out what works for us. Like, we should have had it all inplace before we said I Do.

Mrs. G said...

How perfect - we talked about this at work this morning! I agree with Shannon in that I may encourage the hubs to read this!

d.a.r. said...

This is an awesome post and is soooo true! thanks for writing this.

Erin said...

Do you live inside my mind?!?!

We have been trying to figure it out for awhile now but at lest we are still trying. Sometimes though I am guilty of placing the role on myself. When you told me awhile ago that I need to find out what his expectations were for dinner being made every night during tax season...I realized that I was forcing my self to believe that It was what I was supposed to do (even tough he does think that we should eat dinner at home 95% of the time). He is sometimes guilty of stereotypical things too but it feels more like they are placed on me then him. Its weird that we do tend to take on the roles that our families used. Hubs grew up with just his mom and 2 sisters. His older sister and mother took care of everything and sometimes he transposes that onto me.

I grew up with such a weird wishy washy situation. My Dad would do things like wash the dishes without hesitation so my mom could relax and put her feet up but then you would NEVER catch him cleaning...he did give off the vibe that, that was a woman thing.

I am all about equality. I take out the trash at times, pay the bills and such. I don't think that it is absolutely my job to be the one who does the laundry. Sometime I get so into the equality of things I demand to not do certain things by myself because we don't live in 1950.

I sure none of what I just said makes sense...we are and probably always will be working on it!

Good post...really got me thinking!

Chic Runner said...

You rock. like usual :) Thanks for sharing this and it's so insightful! I'm glad you are so honest and open about everything. :)

Jane said...

I am the the youngest and its like you were writing about me girl. Hmmmm. I am still okay with me though. Great post.

LyndsAU said...

Great post girly :) You are so open and honest and I love it! :)

I am totally the 50s housewife for the most part :) Now if only I could be a stay at home mom that would be perfect :)

Lauren said...

I absolutely love this!!!

Cocaine Princess said...

I enjoyed reading this.

Fabulous picture of you and hubby!

MissBliss said...

when I got married I would not even let my hubby use the "wife" word... that's how freaked out I was by the previous associations....

so, since we moved to Miami last August, I asked him to take time off work and HEAL from his previous 36 years of life. I asked him to apply to go back to school just FOR HIM.

you'd think I asked him to become a drug dealer the way people react... especially family... I didn't want him to work for a while???? I wanted him to DO HIS OWN THING for once?

i think we were on to the right strategy, though, because for once he did not have an overbearing church leader, or a military structure, or a corporate world structure... he could only listen to himself, and think about his own needs...

and he has gotten accepted to the University of Miami as of last Friday!!! It's official, my hubby is a college baby at age 37!

We declared that there had been "enough bull shit to date..." and proceeded to create happiness according to our needs, not society's!

MissBliss said...

by the way, FAB post !! :)

Le said...

LOVED LOVED LOVED your post. So friekin' true and I love your take on it. And by the way ---you seriously licked your sibling's forks??? You are so funny, especially since you are a saliva-phobe. LOL That really had me rolling on the floor.
Can't wait to see you this weekend and rock on chica with your fabulous insights!!!

NicEmMOM said...

so true just wrote a post last week similar to this about being true to Me see at http://2sweetgirlsmom.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-me.html

When you have grown up like you have, as well as I have you have some hard times making changes when it comes to your life!

Jon and Steph said...

I absolutely agree with this post 100%. A couple has to do what works best for them. Jon and I are a lot like you guys in that we share the responsibilities of the household. We both cook, we both do laundry, we both take out the trash, etc. It works for us! and we both do the best we can. ( did I just say both that many times?)

Great post!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Just found your blog and enjoyed reading it.
I hope you will stop by and visit me. The May give away has started....and next week I will be blogging from Disney World.

Jordan said...

It's nice to see someone else that has finally figured this out. We started out with me being a 50s housewife, but it. just. didn't. work. My husband does 95% of the cooking, and I let him! He's better at it than I am, and he loves to do it where I do not.

Now, I do all the cleaning because I'm OCD like that. But, if I'm in a pinch, he takes care of his own laundry or vacuuming the floor. Between our four jobs, we are always changing roles to fit what works best for us at the time!

jenn said...

i just happened on your blog -- and i'm glad!
i love this post!!!

it's so true! i remember telling my hubby when we were in pre-marital counseling that i was not his mother BUT his wife!! i dont mind doing things for him...but, i don't want him to expect me to. {there is a huge difference}

i'm looking forward to checking out your blog...
check mine out as well!!

Sarah Danielle: Jeune Marie said...

This is great - We are still working on finding "what works for us" - so this was very helpful!!

Ashley said...

This is an awesome Tuesday Talk! Totally speaks to me right now too.

Greg and I have done really well to figure out our relationship and develop our own routines, etc. The hardest part is it seems my mom doesn't really get exactly what you are saying. She thinks we should do things the way she thinks we should do them and she gives attitude if we don't agree with her, etc. It's so hard because I constantly feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her and trying to avoid being honest with her.

Right now is especially hard because I am living back at my parents house until the wedding while Greg is still at our apartment 6 hours away.

Anyway, sorry for the long comment. Love this post!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

This is a great post. Could you possibly email it to my MIL anonymously? :)

O.M.G. said...

I agree with everyone else...GREAT post. SO relevant! My husband & I have been married 16 months...together for only 2yrs total. I guess we are still trying to figure it out too. I pretty much started out our relationship doing the whole typical housewife thing because he has NO strengths in that area and I am particular about what I want my home to look like. He was eager to let me take care of the house and I was more than eager to take over too. It's all fine & dandy as long as I feel he is doing his househusband part, you know? I have to feel supported and when he helps out in the smallest ways, I feel like we are on the same team and not like I'm the mom or some superwife. I don't mind that he doesn't have as much energy or passion to DO as much as I do around the house because that's "my thing". He puts his attention & energy into other stuff that I'd rather not be bothered with (like the bills and building stuff around the house). As long as we both appreciate what the other person is doing, that's what matters. Sometimes I do think "why do I have all this responsibility!?" but then I remind myself that I chose it this way and it's unfair for me to resent him. Slowly certain things have changed when I start to relax & realize, he really is ok to do a chore when I ask and while I feel empowered when I do a great job of "taking care" of us, sometimes a girl just needs some support, too. Gosh, apparently I could go on and on about this! :)